By changing the way we use products and resources we can prevent pollution and often save money in the process.
Pollution Prevention AT HOME
Be an environmental consumer.
- Reuse and recycle paper, glass, plastic, aluminum, scrap metal, and yard wastes.
- Look for the recycling symbol on products you buy. Such symbols identify recycled or recyclable products.
- Avoid buying products that use unnecessary packaging - either plastic or paper.
- Buy household goods and foods in bulk to minimize packaging waste.
- Buy rechargeable batteries for flashlights, toys, and household items.
- Carry your own reusable shopping bag.
- Consider using reusable mugs, glasses, dishes, cloth towels and sponges.
- Encourage your community and your school to begin recycling.
- Maintain and repair products.
- Donate usable materials to charities or thrift shops.
- Patronize local businesses and buy locally-produced foods and goods, both to promote a vital local community and prevent pollution generated by travel and shipping.
Limit household hazardous waste.
Purchase products containing toxic ingredients only when you cannot avoid using them and buy only as much as you need. Store hazardous products and materials carefully. Recycle unwanted hazardous products such as oil-based paint or find alternative uses.
Be careful with pesticides.
Apply pesticides such as insecticides and herbicides carefully if they must be used. When using pesticides in or around your home, purchase only the amount needed and follow the instructions on the package carefully. Whenever possible, use natural pest-control methods rather than chemical pesticides. Reduce run-off by maintaining ample grass cover and shrubs.
Be aware of the dangers of lead to children.
Keep kids away from surfaces covered with lead-based paint and renovations of older buildings. Test your drinking water to be sure it does not contain harmful levels of lead or other contaminants.
Reduce smoke, radon, asbestos and other indoor-air pollutants.
Many stores sell test kits for measuring radon levels. A reading above 4 picocuries per liter could indicate a problem. When combined with radon, tobacco smoke further increases one's chance of developing lung cancer. Make your environment a smoke-free environment.
Reduce driving time.
Cars are big contributors to air pollution problems. Consider other
possibilities whenever feasible: carpool, bike, walk, or use mass
transit as part of your daily routine. If you drive, buy an
energy-efficient automobile and keep its engine well tuned.
Be careful with auto waste.
Plant trees and shrubs.
Used oil can contaminate water supplies; used auto batteries contain
lead, lead sulfate, and sulfuric acid, which can leak into soil. Take
used oil, auto batteries, and auto tires to a recycling center or an
appropriate disposal facility.
Trees in your yard may reduce heating and cooling costs and curbs soil
erosion. In addition, they beautify your property and may increase its
value. Be sure to compost leaves, grass, and brush clippings and apply
only as much fertilizer as needed.
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Green is trendy.
The idea of taking your product or business into greener pastures may seem difficult or costly, that’s not necessarily true. A “green business” is sustainable, environmentally friendly, and operates in a way that conserves natural resources, eliminates waste and minimizes emissions and harmful discharges. “Green” sends an important message; going green while providing superior quality and innovative products will be highly valued by potential customers if it is really authentic. Currently available information shows that green businesses improve their brand image, attract more new clients, see higher profits because of lower operating costs (utilities, waste disposal, etc.), and enjoy improved employee productivity, morale and retention.
For individuals being “green” requires developing an attitude toward sustainability and practices that can be incorporated into everyday lives. Being a “green business” means changing the way a business purchases, develops, produces, and provides products and services so it has a positive impact on the environment. The US Chamber of Commerce defines “going green” as follows: “…a heightened awareness of using the Earth's resources more efficiently." The term today includes efforts to conserve our natural resources, reduce our contributions to landfills, and reduce pollution generally. Going green, then, can be summarized by the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle” – which means reduce waste, reuse what you can, and recycle what you can't.
Community improvement can be aligned with sustainable community development. This sustainable community development aims to integrate economic, social and environmental objectives in community development. This requires a participatory, holistic and inclusive process that leads to positive, concrete changes in communities by creating employment, reducing poverty, restoring the health of the natural environment, and stabilizing local economies.
“Sustainability” to a business is a pro-active approach to ensure the long-term viability and integrity of the business by optimizing resource needs, reducing environmental, energy or social impacts, and managing resources while not compromising profitability. Building a sustainable and environmentally friendly business is based upon a commitment to the welfare of society – and the environment – with the same emphasis as earning a profit.
Pollution Prevention FOR BUSINESSES
Disposal and treatment may have been the most convenient and cheapest methods in the past, but improved technologies are making the three methods of waste minimization—energy recovery, recycling and reuse, and source reduction
—more efficient. Emphasizing these methods reverses the historical approach and gives us a new order of waste management:
2.Recycling and reuse
This modern approach to managing wastes is similar to the approach used by business in controlling costs: eliminate costs where possible and minimize all other costs.
It Pays to Reduce Waste
The biggest incentive for small businesses to reduce waste is economic. Pollution costs. Preventing pollution pays.
The cost of managing waste is increasing 10 percent per year. Waste disposal is becoming more expensive as older landfills close. The remaining landfills face more stringent restrictions on the kinds of materials they can accept. Some wastes that once could be sent to landfills now must be incinerated. It can cost between $300 and $2,000 to incinerate a drum of hazardous waste today depending upon the characteristics of the waste.
Disposal costs reflect only part of the cost of waste. Generating and managing waste involves potential liability. There are costs associated with that liability. Waste regulations change. Often there are costs involved in complying with new regulations—costs of modifying facilities, managing new activities, or even just keeping new records.
In spite of these rising costs, you can take steps to control your waste management expenses. Reduce the amount of waste you produce. Find out whether it is possible to reuse or recycle wastes you can't avoid producing. By following these steps, you can make waste reduction pay off in your business's bottom line.
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